Middlesbrough leave it late to battle past Oxford in FA Cup

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Middlesbrough booked their place in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup after recording a dramatic 3-2 victory over Oxford United at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday.

  • Middlesbrough 3 Oxford 2
  • Leadbitter penalty gives Boro early lead
  • Oxford equaliser disallowed
  • Gestede adds second with spectacular effort
  • Maguire pulls one back and Martinez levels
  • Stuani scores late winner for hosts

Match Summary

Grant Leadbitter gave Boro the lead in the 26th minute when he converted from the penalty spot following a foul on Steward Downing in the box. The visitors thought they had their equaliser six minutes later when Chris Maguire’s effort flew in, but the goal was disallowed for a foul in the buildup.

The hosts doubled their lead in the 34th minute through a spectacular overhead kick from Rudi Gestede, before Oxford came roaring back in the second half. Chris Maguire pulled one back in the 64th minute and almost from the kickoff Toni Martinez levelled matters from close range after a scramble in the Boro box.

With time running out and the prospect of a replay beckoning, Christian Stuani ensured the Teessiders’ place in the last eight with a neat finish.

Full Report

Aitor Karanka’s side made a strong start in front of their home fans and nearly opened the scoring five minutes into proceedings when Leadbitter’s free kick found Gestede unmarked at the far post, but the burly forward’s tame effort left Simon Eastwood with an easy save.

Viktor Fischer nearly produced the opening score when he pulled the Oxford defense out of position to play in Leadbitter, only for the midfielder’s chipped effort to ricochet out of play from the crossbar.

It wasn’t long before Boro had their lead, though. With 24 minutes on the clock, referee Andre Marriner handed them a spot kick when Maguire crashed into the back of Downing and the winger was sent tumbling.

Despite some jeers from the travelling fans, Leadbitter made no mistake from the spot.

Shortly after the restart, the visitors thought they had a leveller through Maguire after the midfielder’s miss-hit bamboozled Brad Guzan in the Boro goal, but an earlier shove on Daniel Ayala from Kane Hemmings was enough for Marriner to pull things back and award Boro the free kick instead.

With 11 minutes left in the first half, Boro doubled their advantage through Gestede, when Fabio’s cross was only partially dealt with. The loose ball dropped to Adama Traore, who knocked it back to Gestede, who lashed home a spectacular bicycle kick.

In the second half, Boro continued to have the better chances, but all their good work from earlier was undone in the space of a minute.

Midway through the second stanza, Maguire went from zero to hero when his accurate free kick sailed over the defensive wall and beat Guzan to make the score 2-1.

That scoreline would remain for less than a minute, as almost straight from the kickoff Boro lost possession and from the ensuing counter-attack, Maguire’s initial shot was well saved by Guzan, but West Ham loanee Martinez was on hand to tap home the equaliser.

With time running out for both teams and the prospect of a a replay beckoning, the Premier League outfit’s blushes were spared in the 87th minute. Alvaro Negredo’s touch from Downing’s cross played in Stuani, and he made no mistake with his effort from inside the Boro box.

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